Many of the techniques and ways of working we use here are a shift in attitude from conventional agriculture or gardening, for example, active observation of ecosystems and foodwebs and making minimal intervention, slow solutions such as scything meadows seasonally rather than regular mowing, harnessing the benificial properties of ‘weeds’ and at the same time reducing time spent weeding, shifting from maintenance to harvesting (grass is a harvest which is used to make compost), no dig gardening and soil/fertility building through mulching, planting of nitrogen fixers and dynamic accumulators, and so on.
It is more than just gardening as it takes in all aspects of our lifestyles such as housing, community, social equality, transport and food production. For us, as a LAND project, growing food, fuel, soil and sustainable production of resources, increasing biodiversity and habitat, circular cycling of materials, zero waste and energy efficiency are some of the key areas of focus, but we are also involved with community projects such as Transition Black Isle Seed Swap, Grow North and the MOO FOOD community orchard. We decided to become a ScotLAND Permaculture demonstration site so we can show people practical examples of how it can be applied and learn along with us.
We are using Permaculture Ethics and Principles to guide how we live. The three Ethics of Earth Care, People Care and Fair Share are in the centre, and the 12 principles surround them
Earth care is a main driver of our design, and we use organic and no dig techniques, composting and mulching for soil health, diverse types of trees, shrubs, plants, fruit, and vegetables, land stewardship and habitat creation through ecological methods, sensitive observation and minimal changes, water saving and harvesting, and regenerative growing practices.
People care – we are creating a healthy environment, a relaxing, calm place to live, work and stay, inviting visitors to learn, providing opportunities for volunteers, demonstrating the potential of Permaculture to the wider community and improving food and environment in area, for example Transition Black Isle seed swap (http://www.transitionblackisle.org/) and MOO Food community food project (http://moofood.org/).
Fair share/Future care – using local, ethical and ecological services and goods, living within sustainable limits and minimising our consumption (e.g. growing food, reducing travel and commuting, making crafts, furniture, art, and produce) offering affordable workshops, open to share knowledge and experience, putting our time, energy and resources into positive local projects.